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May 16, 2011

PRSA Comments on Strategic Value of PR for Authors in New York Times Letter to the Editor

PRSA had a letter to the editor of the The New York Times published May 15, 2011,  in response to a May 1 essay in The New York Times Sunday Book Review that chronicled the history of self-promotion and marketing by authors of their work and writings.
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Letters: Building the Brand
Published: May 15, 2011

To the Editor:
In his essay “Building the Brand” (May 1), Tony Perrottet provides informative and entertaining historical perspective on how authors have promoted their writings. Perhaps most intriguing among his examples is the early use, by the Belgian-born writer Georges Simenon, of what we now call crowdsourcing. Using input from the public and his readers, Simenon in 1927 created a framework for the type of direct-to-consumer marketing and public relations frequently used today.
 
In an age when many of the underpinnings of publishing have been thrown into a tailspin by technology, there are valuable lessons to be taken from the examples Perrottet cites, despite his assertion to the contrary. Among those: You can never be too proud to promote your own work. But more important, if you are going to engage in self-promotion, have a strategy in place.
 
It may seem antithetical to the spirit of being an author, but a focus on marketing has helped turn once nascent businesses into successful brands. It is critical, however, that this is done in a transparent and ethical manner. There is nothing wrong with self-promotion, so long as it does not distract from the overall quality and value of one’s work.
 
ROSANNA M. FISKE
New York
The writer is chairwoman and chief executive officer of the Public Relations Society of America.
 
A version of this letter appeared in print on May 15, 2011, on page BR8 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: Building The Brand.

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